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Investing Research Articles

Diminishing Returns from Hedge Funds? Or Not?

Has dramatic growth and proliferation of hedge funds used up all the alpha, or do opportunities for excess returns still abound? In their October 2006 paper entitled “Net Inflows and Time-Varying Alphas: The Case of Hedge Funds”, Andrea Beltratti and Claudio Morana investigate whether dramatic asset growth has eroded the performance of hedge fund managers. Their analysis encompasses the following categories of hedge funds: convertible arbitrage (CA – 8%), dedicated short bias (DSB – 1%), emerging markets (EM – 4%), equity market neutral (EMN – 7%), event driven (ED – 17%), fixed income arbitrage (FIA – 7%), global macro (GM – 11%), long/short equity (LSE – 32%), managed futures (MF – 5%). The percentages indicate the share of total hedge fund assets by category as of December 2005. Using quarterly fund net returns and asset flows and appropriate return benchmarks for each fund category over the period 1994-2005, they conclude that: Keep Reading

Predicting Stock Returns Using Accounting Fundamentals

Which accounting data is most important in predicting future stock returns? In their July 2006 paper entitled “How Do Accounting Variables Explain Stock Price Movements? Theory and Evidence”, Peter Chen and Guochang Zhang test the predictive power of a model that combines the discount rate with four indicators of company cash flow: (1) earnings yield; (2) capital investment; (3) changes in profitability; and, (4) changes in growth opportunities. Earnings yield indicates current cash flow generation, while the other three factors indicate future changes in cash flow generation. Using annual company-level accounting data and analyst growth forecasts for cash flow indicators (27,897 firm-year observations over the period 1983-2001) and the yield on 10-year Treasury notes for the discount rate, they conclude that: Keep Reading

An Equity Risk Premium Opus

What excess return have you gotten, do you expect, should you require, does the market imply for taking the risk of owning stocks? In his September 2006 paper entitled “Equity Premium: Historical, Expected, Required and Implied”, Pablo Fernandez addresses all these questions in a comprehensive overview/history and analysis of the equity risk premium in the U.S. and other countries. He begins with definitions of four perspectives on the equity premium, the first equal for all investors and the other three varying among investors: Keep Reading

Sell Risk to Growth Investors and Buy It from Value Investors?

Are value (growth) investors stolid conservatives (wild risk-takers)? If so, is there a way to trade on the difference in behavioral preferences? In their September 2006 paper entitled “Risk Aversion and Clientele Effects”, Douglas Blackburn, William Goetzmann and Andrey Ukhov compare the risk preferences of value and growth investors by examining: (1) option prices for pairs of value-growth indexes, and (2) funds flows for value and growth mutual funds. They further investigate whether any profitable options trading strategies devolve from the difference in risk preferences. Using recent data for five value-growth index pairs and for several value and growth mutual funds, they find that: Keep Reading

International Diversification with Small Stocks: A Two-fold Size Effect

Are there diversification and return advantages from getting off the beaten path (to small-capitalization stocks) when diversifying internationally? In their September 2006 paper entitled “International Diversification with Large- and Small-Cap Stocks”, Cheol Eun, Wei Huang and Sandy Lai compare the benefits of using large-capitalization and small-capitalization stocks to diversify across countries. Taking the perspective of a dollar-based investor, they examine diversification across ten countries with open capital markets (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States). Using monthly size and return data for three market capitalization-based funds (large-cap, mid-cap and small-cap) for each country over the period 1980-1999, they conclude that: Keep Reading

Measuring Investor/Trader Risk Aversion

Does a willingness to pay more or less for options than indicated by recent actual levels of stock return volatility reflect the current level of investor/trader risk aversion? In other words, does the gap between option-implied and historical stock return volatilities provide a tradable measure of fearfulness? In the September 2006 draft of their paper entitled “Expected Stock Returns and Variance Risk Premia”, Tim Bollerslev, George Tauchen and Hao Zhou investigate the predictive power of the implied-historical volatility gap for future stock returns. Using monthly data for the S&P 500 index (VIX for implied volatility and a summation of five-minute squared returns for historical volatility) for the period 1990-2005, they find that: Keep Reading

The Timing (In)Ability of Mutual Fund Investors

Do mutual fund investors move their money into and out of the stock market at the right times, or the wrong times? In their August 2006 paper entitled “Mutual Fund Flows and Investor Returns: An Empirical Examination of Fund Investor Timing Ability”, Geoffrey Friesen and Travis Sapp examine the flows of funds to/from individual mutual funds to measure the timing ability of fund investors. They define a “performance gap” between the time-weighted (buy-and-hold) return and the dollar-weighted (actual investor average) return as the measure of investor timing ability. Using monthly data for 7,125 mutual funds over the period 1991-2004, they find that: Keep Reading

Technical Analysis as Folk Medicine

Is there a way to end the endless debate on the merits of technical analysis? In his September 2006 paper entitled “On the Analogy Between Scientific Study of Technical Analysis and Ethnopharmacology”, Waldemar Stronka proposes bringing technical analysis into the financial economics fold in a manner analogous to the successful incorporation of folk medicine by pharmacology. Specifically, he notes that: Keep Reading

Do Mutual Funds That Practice Behavioral Finance Principles Outperform?

Do mutual funds that implement the tenets of behavioral finance, in defiance of the Efficient Market Hypothesis, outperform? Can they find and exploit systematic behavioral mispricings? In their August 2006 paper entitled “Behavioral Finance: Are the Disciples Profiting from the Doctrine?”, Colby Wright, Prithviraj Banerjee and Vaneesha Boney assess whether expert investors have validated the principles of behavioral finance by examining the aggregate performance of a group of mutual funds that practice them. Using equal-weighted data for 16 mutual funds most visibly associated with behavioral finance (see table below), they find that: Keep Reading

Essential Ingredients for a Stock Market Boom

What kind of economic environment makes a stock market boom? What changes in that environment lead to bust? In their September 2006 paper entitled “When Do Stock Market Booms Occur? The Macroeconomic and Policy Environments of 20th Century Booms”, Michael Bordo and David Wheelock examine the economic and policy conditions that supported equity market booms in ten developed countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States) during the 20th century. Using monthly inflation-adjusted stock prices from these countries, they conclude that: Keep Reading

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